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How Do You Find Unbiased News Sources in the UK?

Written by, Bojana Atanasovska

Updated June, 6, 2022

People around the world overwhelmingly agree that the media should be impartial in its reporting of political events. They also agree that the media fails to deliver on that front.

So, who are the unbiased newspapers in the UK and how do you find unbiased news sources in the UK?

Let’s look at the numbers.

What Are the Most Popular News Platforms in the UK?

The most popular news site in the UK is by far the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation).  

A survey conducted in December 2021 found that the BBC has 669.1 million readers. Other popular UK news websites, according to that survey, are the Daily Mail, with 155.8 million users, and The Guardian, with 125.1 million readers. 

Top 10 best news websites in the UK

(Statista)

  1. BBC- 669.1 million users
  2. Daily Mail- 155.8 million users
  3. The Guardian- 125.1 million users 
  4. Express – 85.1 million users
  5. The Sun – 65.1 million users
  6. Mirror – 61.2 million users
  7. Independent – 49 million users 
  8. Sky News – 47.3 million users
  9. MSN – 40 million users
  10. Telegraph – 37.3 million users

According to YouGov, the most highly-regarded newspaper in Q1 of 2022 was The Guardian. Its poll found that 35% of UK respondents have a positive opinion of the news outlet. 

(YouGov)

In April 2022, Manchester Evening News, which ranked 12th in popularity at the end of 2021, was the only newspaper that saw month-to-month audience growth. Interestingly enough, the paper didn’t make the cut in YouGov’s top 10 most popular newspapers (based on positive opinions). 

(PressGazette)

The most daily used newspaper between February and March in 2021 was the Daily Mail

(Statista)

  1. Daily Mail (35%)
  2. The Sun (24%)
  3. Metro (19%)
  4. The Times (17%)
  5. The Guardian (16%)
  6. Daily Telegraph (15%)
  7. Daily Mirror (13%)
  8. The ‘i’ (10%)
  9. Daily Express (10%)
  10. Evening Standard (9%)
  11. Any local daily newspaper (9%) 

Later that year, in July, Daily Mail’s website, Mail Online, was on the top of the list of UK news sites, with the highest number of readers, with a daily audience of 4.1 million.

(Statista)

  1. Daily Mail (Mail Online)- 4.1 million
  2. The Sun – 3.7 million
  3. The Guardian – 3.5 million
  4. Mirror – 3.1 million
  5. Express – 1.6 million
  6. Metro – 1.6 million
  7. Independent – 1.4 million
  8. Telegraph – 1.1 million
  9. Newzit – 1.1 million
  10. The Times – 0.9 million
  11. Daily Star – 0.8 million
  12. Daily Record – 0.6 million
  13. Standard – 0.5 million
  14. The i – 0.3 million 

How Do You Find Unbiased News Sources in the UK?

A survey conducted between November 2020 and March 2021, which included 3,418 respondents aged 16 and older, showed that the majority of people in the UK believe that the most unbiased news channel in the UK is BBC. 

They also said that the most biased news outlet is The Sun. 

News sources in the UK ranked from least to most biassed

(Statista)

  1. BBC website/app – 65%
  2. Sky News website/app – 63%
  3. ITV/ITN website/app – 62%
  4. Google news – 55%
  5. Guardian/Observer – 54%
  6. Yahoo News – 53%
  7. Telegraph website/app – 51%
  8. Independent website/app – 48%
  9. YouTube – 45%
  10. MSN News – 43%
  11. Huffington Post – 41%
  12. Daily Mail website/app – 35%
  13. The Sun website/app – 34%

A separate survey from February 2021, found that the most reliable news source in the UK wasn’t traditional media, which only score 44% in trust for news and information. The number one choice was search engines (46%), followed by owned media (23%) and social media (19%).

(Statista)

News Consumption Statistics in the UK

Another 2021 survey said that TV was the most used platform for news consumption in the UK in 2020.

Most used platforms for news consumption in the UK

(Statista) (Statista)

  1. TV (75%)
  2. Internet (70-75%)
  3. Social media (46-55%)
  4. Radio (46-51%)
  5. Other websites/apps (46-50%)
  6. Printed newspapers (27-33%)
  7. Word of mouth (34-46%)
  8. Printed magazines (7-11%)
  9. Interactive TV series (7-8%)
  10. People who don’t follow the news (1-3%)

Regardless of the platform they use, the majority of people in the UK don’t rely on one news source. Around 77% of the people in the UK aged 16 or older said they got their news from more than four sources.

Monthly Demographics for The Most Popular News Websites in the UK

  1. Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday

(Statista)

The Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday had an average monthly reach of more than 36.2 million readers between April 2019 to March 2020. The reach was higher among lower-middle-class British women (20 million) compared to men (15-16 million). 

  1. The Guardian 

(Statista)

This newspaper is more popular among the younger population (27 million readers) than people in the 35+ age group (18 million). 

The Guardian also has a little under 15 million female readers monthly and around 12 million readers who are men. 

  1. The Sun and The Sun on Sunday

(Statista)

The Sun has an average monthly reach of 38 million individuals. It was most popular among the younger population and women, who accounted for 20 million of its monthly readers. 

The paper is least popular in London, where the average consumption was 5 million individuals, and in Scotland, where only 3 million people read the paper. 

  1. The Mirror 

(Statista)

The Mirror averaged a monthly reach of more than 32.9 million people.

Its group of newspapers, including Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, and Sunday People, reached more women (18 million) than men (around 14 million). 

The Mirror’s reach was also higher among adults in the 35+ age group (around 23 million), compared to those in the 15-34 age group (around 9 million). 

  1. The Independent 

(Statista)

The Independent recorded a monthly audience of more than 28.1 million readers between April 2019 and March 2020. 

Its reach was higher among those aged 35+ (18 million) and women (15 million), compared to men (12.9 million).

How interested are 12-15-year-olds in the news? 

(Ofcom)

A 2021 survey, conducted between February 27 and March 24, found that 57% of 12-15-year-olds have expressed interest in the news. The main reason that teenagers want to read the news is to understand what’s going on around them. Those who weren’t interested in the news said it was because the news is “too boring.”

The interest in the news is highest for music (53%), followed by news about celebrities (45%), and the environment (44%). News about serious events taking place in the UK generated the least amount of interest among teens (43%).

Most common ways for children to learn about the news

(Ofcom)

Children learn most about the news from their family members. 

Here’s how they ranked: 

  • Family (68%)
  • TV (65%)
  • Social media (57%)
  • Friends (53%)

Alternative News in the UK

Evolve Politics 

Evolve Politics is a current affairs news website that’s funded through advertisement, donations, and paid subscriptions. 

Although the site is one of the non-mainstream news sources in the UK, Evolve Politics, which claims to publish content that’s free of censorship and disinformation, leans left and was told to pay £900 in damages by state-approved press regulator IMPRESS for a story about Sky news presenter Jonny Gould.

Tortoise Media 

Tortoise Media, which was founded by The Times editor and former BBC News director James Harding, is one of the best independent news sources in the UK.

What sets it apart from other news outlets in the UK and the mainstream media is that it doesn’t publish news stories in the traditional sense. Instead, it offers summaries of the most important news stories, news analysis, and an audio format.                                                                                                                                           

The Skwawkbox 

The Skwawkbox, which was launched in 2021 and created by Steve Walker, is a left-leaning news site that claims it publishes stories that the mainstream media doesn’t. 

Although the site has considered cutting ties with independent, Leveson-compliant press regulator IMPRESS, after the regulator upheld certain complaints against the site, it remains a member. The news outlet has also received approval from NewsGuard, which said that although the site is not entirely unbiased, its reports are factual. 

Byline Times 

Byline Times is a monthly newspaper founded by journalists Peter Jukes and Stephen Colegrave. The paper also maintains a news site with the same name, which is free

Both the newspaper and the news site, which are run by a group of journalists, prioritise investigative journalism. Its editorials and columns, according to Media Bias/Fact Check, lean slightly left. 

Alternative International News Sources

Reuters

Reuters is one of the world’s largest international news agencies that prides itself on its ‘value-neutral approach’. The company, which is owned by the Thomas Reuters Corporation, employs around 2,500 journalists and publishes stories in 16 languages. 

The media organisation covers a wide range of topics, from politics to entertainment and sports. 

The Associated Press 

The Associated Press is an American non-profit and international news organisation. It’s also the oldest and largest news organisation in the US that’s widely regarded as ‘neutral,’ though it has been on the receiving end of criticism over some stories and decisions.

Many newspapers and broadcasters, both in and out of the US, pay a licence fee to republish AP materials. A large portion of them also follows the AP Stylebook, a guide that journalists use to write stories for the paper. 

Al Jazeera English

Al Jazeera is a news channel and website owned by the Al Jazeera Media Network. It is the first news channel with headquarters in the Middle East, which mainly covers news from around the world. In addition to news stories, you can also find podcasts and opinion pieces on the Al Jazeera website. 

The Financial Times

The Financial Times is a British daily newspaper that’s based in London and owned by the Japanese holding company, Nikkei. The paper mainly covers domestic and international news related to the business and financial sectors. It also has a separate section where it publishes opinion pieces, editorials, and commentaries on politics and economics. 

The Onion 

The Onion is a Chicago-based digital media company and newspaper organisation founded in 1988 by Tim Keck and Christopher Johnson. It publishes satirical articles covering current (both real and fictional) international, national, and local news with a focus on political happenings. 

Bottom Line

Finding unbiased news in the UK in the current climate is difficult, but not impossible. So, how do you find unbiased news in the UK?’ Most people nowadays, read both the right- and left-leaning versions of the same story (penned by different news organisations in the UK) to make sure they’re not missing anything crucial.

Sources

Bojana is my name and writing is my game. I am a content writer from Bitola who is always interested in the latest research in almost all areas of life. I have a Bachelor’s degree in English literature and a perfectionist character, both of which help me find the most accurate data and information available. Although I have my head stuck in studies and reports most of the time, I still have a bit of free time during which I enjoy knitting and watching classic 90’s Disney movies.